Friday, 1 December 2006

Lotame Ad Targeting Scares Me

I had made a comment on a earlier post that if all the resources that went into ad targeting went into cancer research, we would have a cure by now.

And then I bumped into Lotame.

So what is it? According to their CEO Andy Monfried's blog:

"About Lotame™ (
Lotame™, based in Columbia, Maryland, serves publishers and advertisers looking to drive results from the media of Web 2.0. Its ad targeting technology includes an optimization tool that enables a Web2.0, or social network publisher, to automatically discover member communities and member social profiles that respond well to specific ad campaigns, for more efficient targeting."

I mean look at the language for a minute. Lotame serves publishers and advertisers. So who exactly is serving me? Who is looking about for my privacy concerns as I get behaviourally tracked and monitored?

How about Andy?...He's serving his clients ok, get that. But, is he worried about my privacy?

According to Liz Gannes

"Monfried insists Lotame data will be stored and shared only in aggregate, and strictly according to privacy policies."

Well if he isn't concerned should we be? I would suggest YES YES and YES!

Let me tell you a story about a guy I met once.

I still remember his name, Hank. Hank was a big wig up from the States to give us a presentation on new research methodologies for advertising. Hank, who thought I was a secretary (because really, what else would I be?), smiled and said honey and sweetie a lot. After thanking me with a pat on my head for setting up his power point presentation for him, he proceeded to walk us through this brand new research tool that his client was using that had consumers hooked up to electrodes to monitor and track their reactions to different products. They would then correlate that behavioural information to the other research that the customer told them, and voila! Perfect predictive models.

I have to tell you, seeing pictures of these customers all strapped up like they were ready to get a heart transplant just to monitor their pulse rates for advertising purposes scared the crap outta me.

I wrote on a piece of paper to the person next to me "*note to self: must get out of advertising"

So pardon me for not leaving my privacy in the hands of Andy.

In the words of Agatha Christie,

“Where large sums of money are concerned, it is advisable to trust nobody.”


Mark said...

And what do you think television has been about for fifty years? Television is not about delivering content to viewers, but rather about delivering viewers to advertisers. You, the viewer, the consumer are not served so much as being served up. That same mentality applies in accelerated fashion on the web.

"Web 2.0! Get yer Web 2.0 here! Fresh and hot consumers, drippin' wit' cash! Get 'em while dey're hot! Web 2.0!

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